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Program can help with down payment, closing costs

By TERESA BURNEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 1999


Low- to moderate-income people who live in Pinellas, Pasco or Polk counties can tap into some of the lowest interest rates around and get some help with down payments and closing costs through the Pinellas County first-time home buyer's mortgage program.

Don't stop reading if you have owned a house before. Under this program, "first time" means that you haven't had an interest in a home for three years. If you have one or two people in your household and earn less than $42,400 a year or have three or more people in your household and earn less than $48,760 a year you can qualify.

There are limits on the cost of the house -- $131,630 for a new home in Pinellas or Pasco and $93,623 for one in Polk. You can spend up to $95,850 for an existing house in Pinellas or Pasco and $76,531 for one in Polk. For a free brochure on the program, call the Housing Finance Authority at (800) 806-5154.HOME BUYER U

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n Pasco County residents can learn the ins and outs of buying a house at a free seminar sponsored by the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Florida Suncoast. The seminar will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Land O'Lakes Government Center, 4111 Land O'Lakes Blvd.

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n Working families can get free advice on how to get a mortgage and learn how to budget to save for a home at classes sponsored by the Community Service Foundation. The budgeting classes will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb 2 and 16 at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St N., St. Petersburg, and from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb 10 and 24 at the YWCA, 222 S Lincoln Ave, Clearwater. The mortgage classes will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 4 and 11 at the Greater Clearwater Association of Realtors building, 1525 S Belcher Road, Clearwater. Attendance at both mortgage classes is required for certification for some government-sponsored mortgage programs. There are a series of five budgeting classes. For registration, call (727) 461-0618.

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n Free classes for those who own fixer-upper properties, as well as those who want to buy a house, are offered from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 28870 U.S. 19 N, Suite 300, Clearwater, on the third Wednesday of each month by Lyon Mortgage & Investment Co. Information about various government loan programs, including those available to finance home fix-ups, will be covered. For registration, call (727) 725-8250.

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n Evening seminars for home buyers are offered from 7 to 9 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 9306 U.S. 19, Port Richey, across from Gulf View Square Mall. The classes, sponsored by Kur-Lin Mortgage Services, will include information on home buyer assistance programs offered in Pasco County. For information, call (727) 847-5710.

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n A workshop on prequalifying for a mortgage, choosing a real estate agent, evaluating credit and understanding the basics of obtaining financing is offered by Allstate Mortgage & Loan from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays at 25400 U.S. 19 N, Suite 263, Clearwater. For information, call (800) 701-1186.

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n Owners Equity Mortgage Corp. offers free workshops and seminars for applicants with down payment and credit problems from 7:15 to 9:15 p.m. weekdays at 101 E Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs. The classes, which are for first-time buyers with low to moderate incomes, will cover all phases of home buying. For information, call (727) 942-6406 or (727) 938-6583.

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n American Home Mortgage and First American Title offer a seminar on "How to Buy Your First Home." The seminar will include information on credit reports, qualifying for a mortgage and down payment assistance. Sessions are from 7 to 8 p.m. the second and last Tuesdays of each month. Call (727) 446-2911 for reservations and locations in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

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n Free workshops, presented by Buccaneer Mortgage and Brophy Real Estate in St. Petersburg and Seminole, are offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first and last Tuesdays of each month. For information and reservations, call (727) 898-2827 or (727) 522-6666.

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n A free workshop for those with down payment and credit problems is offered from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. The workshop is sponsored by AGA Mortgage Service and Realty Associates at its office, 11350 66th St. N, Suite 104, Largo. For information and reservations, call Mary Ann at (727) 541-3390 or Joe at (727) 531-1502.

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